The British Domestic Hours Rules, unfortunately, are not straightforward, particularly when variables are added. Therefore, in this article, we have concentrated on certain specific areas where common failures occur.

When considering the Rules, it is better for drivers, and the operator, to consider the basics of the subject area before delving into those areas which cause the greatest confusion. The British Domestic Rules, found within the Transport Act 1968, will apply to the majority of vehicles (PCVs and LGVs) which are exempt from the EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations.

The British Domestic Rules only apply within the boundaries of Great Britain. Northern Ireland has its own set of rules.

Who are the typical drivers operating under British Domestic Rules?

Under the PCV banner, the most typical transport businesses operating under GB Domestic Rules are the public transport buses seen daily operating within the towns and cities within Great Britain where the route covered by the service does not exceed 50km.

Further operations which may also fall within this operation are services such as school buses and other special regular services which are defined within EU Regulation 684/92 Article 2(1) (1.2) which states:

“Special regular services shall include:

a. the carriage of workers between home and work;

b. carriage to and from the educational institution for school pupils and students;

c. the carriage of soldiers and their families between their state of origin and the area of their barracks;

d. urban carriage in frontier areas.

The fact that a special service may be varied according to the needs of users shall not affect its classification as a regular service.”

For the LGV industry, the list of vehicles exempts, or derogated exceptions is numerous and can be seen within EU Regulation 561/2006 Articles 3 and 13 (as amended by EU Regulation 165/2014 Article 45).

Some examples of vehicles operating under GB Domestic Rules include domestic refuse vehicles, specialised breakdown vehicles operating within 100km of base, vehicles carrying animal carcasses and vehicles carrying live animals from farms to local markets and vice versa and from markets to local slaughterhouses within a radius of 100km of base (amended on 2 March 2015 — EU Regulation 165/2014 Article 45 (2)(a)).

The Domestic Regulations as they apply to PCVs and HGVs

To complicate matters further, the rules for drivers of vehicles operating under these domestic regulations differ according to whether they are driving PCVs or LGVs (unlike the EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations which, for the majority, do not differ between the two). Furthermore, the GB Domestic Rules only apply within the boundaries of Great Britain.

PCV British Domestic Rules — a Summary

A day is defined as the time between two daily rest periods or between a weekly rest period and a daily rest period.

Continuous Driving The limit of driving is 5 hours 30 minutes after which a break of 30 minutes is required. Alternatively, within a total period of 8 hours 30 minutes, breaks of at least 45 minutes must be taken during this period, allowing a maximum of 7 hours 45 minutes driving within this period. At the end of this period a further 30 minutes break must be taken, unless the driver is to begin a rest period.
Daily Driving The maximum driving time in a day is 10 hours.
Daily Spreadover This should not exceed 16 hours between the start and end of work.
Daily Rest At least 10 hours continuous rest should be taken between two working days, but this can be reduced to 8 hours 30 minutes up to three times in a week (a week is Monday to Sunday).
Fortnight Rest In any two-week period, i.e. from Monday to two Sundays later, there must be at least 24 hours off duty

LGV British Domestic Rules – a Summary

A day is defined as being 24 hours starting from the beginning of work.

Daily Driving The maximum driving time in a day is 10 hours.
Daily Duty In a working day the maximum duty time (Drive and Other Work) is 11 hours. If the driver does not drive more than 4 hours on each day of a week then the daily duty limit does not apply, nor does it apply on days the driver does not drive.
Continuous Driving It may be controversial, but there is no limit on LGV drivers before which they must take a driving break, although it would be sensible for operators to apply some internal control to prevent drivers becoming tired.
Daily Rest Again, there are no stipulated durations for rest periods, the domestic law simply requires the driver to have regular rest periods that are sufficiently long and continuous that the driver does not cause harm to themselves or others. Again, responsible operators should have a policy in place to ensure that this requirement is met.

Gordon Humphreys of Foster Tachographs Limited takes a look at the details of this complex aspect of the law, especially where drivers are mixing with EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations.

Switching between PCV and LGV Domestic Rules

Some drivers may be required to combine driving a bus and a goods vehicle while operating under domestic rules. For example, a mechanic at a bus company may undertake a school run in the morning and afternoon, but in between be required to recover a broken-down vehicle.

Where such a split in the driver’s duties occur, it is necessary to look at how the driving duty is split, both in a day and during a week. Whichever type of vehicle he or she drives most takes priority on that day and in that week respectively when it comes to which legislation the driver should adhere to in the course of their work.

Mixing GB Domestic Rules and EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations

This is where one of the biggest problems occurs for drivers in the recording of their working day.

For PCV drivers there is no requirement to record working activity when operating under GB Domestic Regulations only, whilst for LGV drivers, they are required to keep records of their work under Domestic Rules, which generally will be by use of a log book or on occasions the tachograph.

However, as soon as work is undertaken under the EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations, then under these regulations the driver is now required to comply with all aspects of driving breaks and rest periods for that day, the weekly rest regulations for that week and make a full and proper record of that working day.

The time in the vehicle operating under EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations must be recorded using a tachograph record, whilst the other activity must, as a minimum be recorded manually to ensure that the driver has a full record of their working day. Failing to do so is failing to keep a proper record in accordance with the law.

Drivers must, therefore, be trained to make manual entries using both analogue and digital tachographs, as appropriate.

Also, driving time in a vehicle operating under GB Domestic Rules may be considered differently to driving a vehicle under EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations, but only when applying this to the EU Regulations.

To explain:

  • Option 1. Driving under GB Domestic Rules = OTHER WORK under EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations
  • Option 2. Driving under EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations= DRIVING under GB Domestic Rules
  • Option 3. Alternatively, where mixing the work the driver and Operator can choose to undertake all of the work under the EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations.

Option 3 above is probably the safest policy to ensure compliance and is certainly the easiest to apply.

For example, to show the complexities, a driver of a coach who undertakes a school journey in the morning involving 1 hour 30 minutes driving is then put onto a Private Hire trip. The driving time from the school journey does not have to count as driving under EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations as it was undertaken under GB Domestic Rules and could be considered as Other Work. Therefore, the driver could then, potentially, drive 4 hours 30 minutes under the EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations before having to take a break of 45 minutes.

However, at that stage, the driver would have reached 6 hours driving without a break under the GB Domestic Rules, in excess of the first option of continuous driving for 5 hours 30 minutes. However, the option of 7 hours 45 minutes driving in 8 hours 30 minutes could then be applied, but this would then require the driver to stop again after a further 1 hour 45 minutes driving for a second break, under GB Domestic Rules, of 30 minutes.

If the driving limit of 5 hours 30 minutes was applied, then the driver would have been required to stop after 4 hours driving on the Private Hire work (1 hour 30 minutes hours under GB Domestic Rules + 4 hours under EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations), and take a 30 minute break, but if the driver then continued driving, he or she would be required to stop after a further 30 minutes driving to take a further 30 minutes to break under the EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations.

It is, therefore, for that reason, easier to operate under one set of regulations, i.e. the EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations where the operation is mixing, recording the whole working day on the tachograph record and removing the requirement to be applying both sets of legislation at that time.

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